Cross-border collaboration to provide unparalleled support for startups

GridAKL, home to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s innovation community, has signed an agreement with Stone & Chalk, Australia’s largest startup community with hubs in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

The partnership is set to bolster the support network for startups, providing them with unparalleled resources in Auckland and Australia including cross-border collaboration, access to expertise, investor connectivity, access to desk and office space, and innovation events.

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Chief Executive Nick Hill says the partnership is an important part of the economic and cultural agency’s work to establish and grow the region’s innovation network.

“We’re excited to welcome Stone & Chalk to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s vibrant innovation network, which includes GridAKL at Wynyard Quarter, Click Creative Tech Studios in the west, Reserve in the east and GridMNK in the south. By connecting Australia and New Zealand’s innovation ecosystems through a landing pad for startups, together GridAKL and Stone and Chalk can help drive growth and support the long-term sustainability of our respective tech and innovation communities.”

Nick Hill says the partnership complements New Zealand and Australia’s close economic and trading relationship, which is recognised as one of the broadest and mutually compatible in the world.

“The partnership between GridAKL and Stone & Chalk is reflective of the longstanding culture of collaboration between Aotearoa and Australia for better economic outcomes. This year, New Zealand and Australia mark the 40th anniversary of the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations agreement, which has seen Australia become our most important trading partner. Two-way trade accounted for $29 billion in 2022 and Australia is often the first export market many New Zealand companies, including our startups, look to, to grow,” says Nick Hill.

Chris Kirk, CEO of Stone & Chalk, expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership.

“Expanding into New Zealand through our partnership with GridAKL is a significant step towards building a robust innovation bridge across the Tasman. We believe that by connecting Australia and New Zealand’s innovation ecosystems, we can collectively drive the growth of startups and emerging tech companies in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Marissa Brindley, Head of Tech and Innovation at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited says the partnership builds on the achievements of the first year of work for Tech Tāmaki Makaurau, a three-year strategy to grow Auckland’s technology industry, create jobs and attract talent and investment to the region.

“Tech Tāmaki Makaurau sees us collaborate with industry, government and partners to develop Auckland’s tech sector to drive economic prosperity for the region’s communities and to establish Auckland as a ‘tech city’ on the world stage. The 2022 Auckland Tech Insights Report, a deliverable of Tech Tāmaki Makaurau, highlights the importance of exposure to a wide range of overseas markets for Auckland tech companies to help foster growth, higher wages and productivity. Australia is a key international market for local tech innovators and entrepreneurs, accounting for nearly 22 per cent of total Auckland tech export figures and growing just over eight per cent in 2022.”

Nick Hill says the recent The State of the City report, an annual global benchmarking project launched in partnership with Committee for Auckland and Deloitte, highlights the need for an increased focus on knowledge and innovation across Tāmaki Makaurau.

“Findings from The State of the City report show that Auckland has great momentum for producing startups with an ambition to grow internationally. However, the report also points out we need strong outreach and visibility in international markets and wider enablers to innovate including access to incubators, mentorship, and seed and early-stage funding. With fantastic energy and talent in Auckland’s innovation ecosystem, the partnership between GridAKL and Stone & Chalk will help Auckland develop its innovation offering at home and in Australia, creating jobs, attracting investment, and building productivity over the long-term.”

The partnership between GridAKL and Stone & Chalk will be acknowledged this evening at an ecosystem mixer event at GridAKL, Wynyard Quarter attended by Imche Veiga, co-founder and former chief executive of Outset Ventures, New Zealand’s largest technology startup hub, who was recently appointed Group Executive Ecosystems at Stone & Chalk.